Tabletop Made

During my last visit with ReForm School in Los Angeles I had the pleasure of discovering Tabletop Made.  I’m a complete sucker for lovely and unique new cards lines, so I was delighted to find more designs in their Etsy shop.  Tabletop Made is based in scenic Santa Barbara, CA and is operated by Karis Van Noord and Sarah Wilkinson.

Miss You

Blank cards

I like you

Kraft on white

Thank You

Much gratitude to Nole for giving me the opportunity to share some of my paper loves with you, dear readers.  I hope she and her mister are enjoying every moment of their vacation.

Photo Credit: Tabletop Made

“Tabletop Made” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary

Laser Cutting with Candyspotting

Candyspotting is a laser cutting studio based in Portland, Oregon and founded by Sarah Holbrook in 2009.  Though Sarah cuts many different mediums, she tends to focus her efforts on paper.  The laser’s ability to both cut and etch allows for some stunning results and it never ceases to amaze me how detailed the final product can turn out.  The fine art foray into laser cutting paper is a fairly new trend.  Historically, laser cutters have been used for more industrial applications.  It’s very exciting to see more artists and designers using this medium – I love discovering new stationery lines that are working with cut paper.

Sarah was kind enough to cut the Oh So Beautiful Paper logo (featuring calligraphy by Bryn from Paperfinger) as a demonstration of the laser’s intricacy.  Since Candyspotting specializes in cutting paper, Sarah is an expert at calculating the laser’s settings for the cleanest cut and the least amount of residual burning.  The end results are simply breathtaking.

OSBP laser cut

OSBP laser cut 4

This piece took over five minutes to cut.  If you are interested in reading more about the technical side of the process, be sure to visit Candyspotting’s blog.

Rhode Montijo

Rhode Montijo’s papel picado style Skeletown card will soon be for sale at the very first Latino Comics Expo in San Francisco next month.

Saelee Oh

Saelee Oh’s limited edition cut (this piece is sold out) “All Together Now”. The equally stunning “Infinite Path” is currently available in Saelee’s shop.

Béatrice Coron

Béatrice Coron creates the majority of her paper cuts by hand, but has recently begun offering a small selection of laser cut pieces. “BZCT” is available in a numbered edition of 500.

Squirrel Loves Nut

Squirrel Loves Nut is my own small line of cards. As a rep for so many talented designers, I’m inspired on a daily basis – it’s been a treat to have my very own creative outlet.

Wedding Invitation

This wedding invitation, designed by Candyspotting, combines laser cutting and etching.

Business Card

Catchy business card design, by Brian Behrens.


Laser cut paper scraps are particularly cute.

Thank You cards

Test cuts for a Thank You card designed by Candyspotting.

Many thanks to Sarah for allowing me to invade her studio.

“Laser Cutting with Candyspotting” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary.

The Printing Process: Engraving

While I’m away on vacation I’m running a series of guest posts on the various printing processes, from digital printing to engraving.  I’ve asked some designers and printers to share their expertise and lots of photos to fill you in on what you need to know about different stationery printing methods.  Today we’re joined by Chelsea and Jamie from Sugar Paper, telling us all about the elegant printing process known as engraving!

Hi OSBP!  We’re Chelsea and Jamie from Sugar Paper in Los Angeles, California!  At Sugar Paper our first love is (and will always be) letterpress printing.  That said, lately we’ve been intrigued by engraving.  Anyone who has ever printed on a letterpress knows that printing using white ink is a challenge.  If you work and work you can get a subtle image, but there is nothing like engraving for a crisp white image on brightly colored paper.


Luckily, a world renowned engraver is right in our backyard.  The oldest engraver in the United States, SF Cooper, is just down the road from us.  They recently allowed Jamie and I the opportunity to learn the process, and we’ll show you how it’s done in the images below.  We had fun!  It was like our own personal Sesame Street field trip.  We both loved those Sesame Street segments when we were kids…

What is Engraving?

Like letterpress, the process of engraving imposes ink onto paper under intense pressure, creating images with a unique look and feel unavailable through flat printing.  Unlike letterpress, however, type and graphics are raised on each piece of paper.  To achieve this result, metal plates are etched with a recessed image.  Metal plates are then hand-aligned on the press.  Once aligned, the plate is coated with ink and then blotted using kraft paper to clean the plate, leaving only the image with ink remaining.  The paper is then hand-fed and each piece is applied under two tons of pressure, creating an embossed image with startling clarity, color purity and depth.

The Printing Process

Like with any labor-intensive printing process, you really have to see the process in action.  The images below will help walk you through the engraving process step by step.


The plate is etched with the image and aligned in the press.


White ink is added to the press.



Blotter paper is added to the press to blot the plate between each impression.  The entire plate is inked and then blotted with kraft paper to leave only the etched image white.


The pressman feeds each piece of paper and then lines them on a heated conveyer belt to dry.


Caution – Hot!  The cards pass through the oven on a conveyer belt.  It’s like a conveyer belt toaster oven…

Each card passes through the oven to dry.


The finished cards.


Each set is counted…


and packaged…



Tadaa!  The final product is now in stores.  Nestled in with some of our other fall favorites from Oblation, Rifle Paper Company and Thomas Paul.

Tips and Advice

The beauty of engraving is best reserved for formal pieces, as the price and the printing style lends itself to more formal occasions.

When having collateral printed these are our tips:

1. Keep in mind that engraving requires longer turn-around times than most printing styles.  Engravers are generally old-school printers.  This means, they honor traditional printing and paper ordering policies that can delay an order.  If you’re in a hurry, this is not the printing method for you.  If you have 3 to 4 weeks (or more), you’re golden.

2.  Engraving is best used with fine typefaces.  The engraving technique captures fine details in a way unparalleled by other printing methods.  Shaded type or thin typefaces look terrific when engraved.

3. Engraving is a terrific option for white ink on colored paper.  Engraving prints white ink beautifully.  The ink sits on top of the paper and creates a bright white color.

4. Two-sided pieces should be avoided when choosing engraving as your printing method.  The process of engraving uses water that creates “bruising” on the backside of each piece of paper.  The “bruising” would conflict with a two-sided design making the design look muddled.  A note: The “bruising” is what creates a distinction between true engraving and thermography the less expensive version of raised printing.

Thank you so much ladies!  For more of the fabulous paper wares from Sugar Paper, click here!

Photo Credits: Sugar Paper

Greenwich Letterpress Loves New York

As someone that has lived their entire life on the West Coast, I can think of few things more intriguing and romantic than living in New York City.  Greenwich Letterpress offers two wedding suites to appeal to the couple who not only has a love affair with one another, but also this truly wondrous city.  Additionally, they sell a selection of New York based greeting cards and flats that lend a bit of wit and nostalgia – appealing to New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Manhattan skyline wedding invitation and RSVP card.

Brooklyn Bridge wedding invitation and RSVP card.

Photo Credit: Greenwich Letterpress

“Greenwich Letterpress Love New York” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary

Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press

Oblation Papers & Press was founded in 1989 by Ron and Jennifer Rich.  In 1998 they opened the retail space for which they are well known within the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon.  The reach of their business is really quite impressive – not only do they offer a well curated retail shop in the front of the space, they also house an urban paper mill, letterpress print shop, custom invitation gallery and design and produce their own line of wholesale goods that are warehoused and shipped from this very same location.

| Storefront |

Storefront with signs

Bike in windowBike Close-up

Love the current window display – nothing says Portland quite like a cute bicycle and a few raindrops.

| Retail Space |

Retail counter

Retail viewRetail - Gift Wrap

Retail View 2

Oblation stocks a selection of the finest stationery and gift items. They also offer an impressive selection of European accouterments to add an extra special touch to your correspondence.

| Custom Invitation Gallery |

Customs invitation

Custom invitations 2

Custom invitations 3

Their custom letterpress offerings include: Classic Wedding, Baby, Correspondence and Black & White Wedding portfolios.

| Wholesale Line |

Oblation wholesale

Oblation wholesale 2

Oblation wholesale 3

Oblation also offers a comprehensive wholesale letterpress card and gift line. The collection is stocked in stores worldwide and is also available in their online shop.

| Urban Paper Mill |

 Urban Paper Mill

Urban Paper Mill 2

Papermaking is where Ron and Jennifer got their start in the business. Oblation continues this tradition by producing their own cotton paper using recycled remnants from the garment industry. Their handmade paper is perfectly suited for letterpress printing.

| Letterpress Print Shop |


Printshop 2


Oblation has six platen presses in their studio. At this time, the print shop is entirely operated by women. Oblation’s printing practices include the use of wind power, soy inks and recycled cotton.

Thanks again to Oblation Papers & Press for opening their doors to me and allowing me to share their story and space.

Photo Credit: Carina Murray

“Behind the Scenes: Oblation Papers & Press” is a guest post by Carina Murray of Crow & Canary